Happy Leap Year 2016!

leap year

So, the Church is actually responsible for the Leap Year! In the year 1582, Rome promulgated the Gregorian calendar, which includes a leap year every four years to correct the quarter-day difference between the date and actual time the Earth rotates around the sun annually. Pope Gregory VIII reformed the calendar in use since the time of Julius Caesar (Julian calendar, 45 B.C.). The Gregorian calendar system dealt with Calendar-drifting problems by dropping 10 days “to bring the calendar back into synchronization with the seasons,” and adopting the new leap year rule. In 1582, Oct 4 was followed by Oct. 15 as they corrected the calendar.

Although many Catholic feasts have exact dates on the calendar, Lent and Easter must coincide with Passover – when Christ’s Passion took place. Passover is based on how the first full moon relates to spring which is why Easter is celebrated in March some years and April in others. Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon, after the vernal equinox (the first day of spring). The Gregorian calendar was designed to keep the vernal equinox on or close to March 21, so that the date of Easter remains correct with respect to the vernal equinox.

The Gregorian calendar eliminates leap year three times every 400 years because the Earth doesn’t rotate exactly 365.25 and loses a day every 130 years. So, every year divisible by four is a Leap Year, except when it is divisible by 100 and not by 400. The years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not Leap Years.

A fun snack for today would be ‘Frogs on a Log’. You need some Hostess Ho Hos or Drake’s Yodels or Little Debbie Swiss Rolls, some gummy frogs, and a little bit of chocolate or vanilla icing to ‘glue’ the ‘frogs’ to the ‘logs’.

frogs on a log

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